People who mock China's anthem could face jail time

By CAO YIN ( Updated : 2017-10-31

People who disrespect China's national anthem could face up to three years in prison if a draft amendment to the Criminal Law approved.

Besides a prison sentence, those found guilty could also be put under surveillance or deprived of their political rights, according to the draft, which was submitted on Tuesday to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, for its first reading.

Under the National Anthem Law, which came into effect on Oct 1, those who mock the anthem in public, including distorting it or maliciously tampering with it, face up to 15 days in administrative detention or, in some cases, criminal punishment.

"Some members of the legislature thought it was necessary to clarify the criminal penalties in the Criminal Law when the National Anthem Law was being discussed a few months ago, to maintain the dignity of the anthem," said Wang Chaoying, deputy director of the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission.

"The anthem is a symbol like the national flag and emblem," he said, adding that under Chinese law, those who insult the flag and emblem face criminal charges.

The NPC Standing Committee approved the National Anthem Law on Sept 1, to uphold the respect of the people for the anthem and to regulate their behavior while singing or playing the song.

It clarifies nine situations in which the national anthem should be played, including important sporting or diplomatic events, and it also stipulates that the song should not be used as a trademark, on advertisements, as background music in public places, or broadcast at private funerals.

China's national anthem, March of the Volunteers, was composed in 1935, with lyrics written by the poet Tian Han and music composed by Nie Er. The song encouraged Chinese soldiers and residents during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), and it was named as the national anthem in 1949.